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Mobile cannot be a standalone tool: Ashutosh Srivastava

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Mobile cannot be a standalone tool: Ashutosh Srivastava

With the penetration of internet and the galloping growth of technology, as well as the number of mobile phone users, mobile marketing is becoming an important part of the digital media mix. According to experts, mobile device activity will outstrip fixed PC usage in emerging countries in a period of five years. This presents both, a formidable challenge to marketers as well as significant underlying opportunities in terms of leveraging this surge of mobile usage to create a compelling connect for their brands.

While consumer behaviour towards mobiles is rapidly changing and they are spending more time on this platform, the money being spent on this medium, according to estimates, is only Rs 180 crore. “From a total marketing spend of Rs 3000 crore, ideally half should be spent on mobile. Such is the scale of this medium,” said Ashutosh Srivastava, Chief Executive Officer, Global and Emerging Markets, Mindshare.

According to Srivastava, easy access to web via mobile and cheaper data plans along with the heightened popularity of applications, mobiles, and ‘sharing’ on the online space are some of the key trends that are redefining user engagement on mobile.

For mobile marketing to have the requisite impact on a brand’s visibility and reach, marketers need to set aside some part of their marketing budget towards testing new initiatives on mobile. The economic slowdown the world over has lessened the intent of companies to invest in trial and error on mobile. “Earned media in social space seems to be more enticing than paid media on mobile. But this is slowly changing,” added Srivastava.

For mobile to become an effective communication tool, it needs to be looked at in sync with the other marketing platforms, not as a standalone tool. “Mobile needs to be used in an integrated fashion across paid, owned, and earned,” said Srivastava.

He went on to talk of the crucial factors that media agencies need to keep in mind while pursuing mobile marketing strategies. “The role of mobiles needs to be defined at every stage – right from the time brand awareness is being built till the actual purchase. At the same time, mandating mobile search and display advertising as an integral part of every campaign is important.”

Along with the aforementioned, there is a need to switch to an open source model standard and well established data and transparency standards.

The availability of HTML 5 and to be able to run it across different platforms is another massive opportunity that needs to be tapped. “India is a low-cost, high quality HTML 5 hub,” said Srivastava. However, the key, according to Srivastava, is to map out a complete ecosystem of professionals and agencies between marketers and consumers and to forge collaborations and partnerships with them. “We need to hire dedicated mobile marketers to focus on solutions and not just advertising to create an ongoing dialogue with consumers through mobile,” he said.

The above excerpts are taken from the presentation given by Srivastava at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Forum, organised in association with the exchange4media Group. It took place on September 21, 2012 at New Delhi.

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